During October (2018), we were excited to receive our new turtle enclosure! It is a 12m-diameter aquaculture pen, dedicated to our rescued sea turtles and very kindly sponsored by two of our guests, Shazmeen Banks and Sue Olsen (on behalf of the Olsen Animal Trust).

Turtle enclosure – collage [LG 2018.10]

Once the enclosure was successfully assembled, we towed it to a permanent location and anchored it securely at Parrot Reef. We chose Chomper to be the very first test turtle, as his wounds are healed and he shows little buoyancy syndrome (difficulty diving due to trapped air). So, on 14 October we ferried Chomper out to the lagoon for a trial swim … which proved a great success!

For the next 10 days, we checked on the empty enclosure daily, to monitor the ocean currents in the area and observe the effects and stability of the new setup. As we predicted, the Parrot Reef location shelters the cage from strong currents and waves, and the relatively fine mesh limits water flow through the enclosure, all of which will aid our rehabilitation turtles to regain confidence in the open ocean environment.

Sea turtle rehabilitation enclosure Marine Savers Maldives (1) assembly
Sea turtle rehabilitation enclosure Marine Savers Maldives (2) positioning

On 25 October, we transported Chomper out to the enclosure for a second time, for a longer observation and training session. At first, he started to bite the netting, presumably due to the stress of the boat transfer, but he soon started swimming around the entire pen, and trying to dive down repeatedly. After a meal of fresh fish, we transferred him back to his normal pool in our Centre.


On 29 October, after a couple of days to recover from the stress, we again ferried Chomper out to the enclosure. He seemed much more relaxed this time, and we fed him and observed his behaviour for several hours. After checking on Chomper again later that same day, we decided to leave him in the enclosure overnight. This proved a success, and Chomper lived in his new lagoon home for 4 full days, during which time we fed and checked on him twice daily.

With only two flippers on the same side of the body, it is physically challenging for him to dive much below the water surface, although initially he did appear to be resting slightly lower in the water (less buoyant). He was feeding well, but didn’t actively come to seek the food when it was presented to him in the water, so we had to place it closer to his mouth.

After several days of cloud and rain, the weather changed back to sunny and hot, so we decided to return Chomper back to his shaded pool at our Centre. Being stuck floating on the water surface, he is obviously vulnerable during hot weather and indeed seems to have tanned slightly on his carapace and extremities. We have now add a shading tarp to cover part of the enclosure, and Albert has also ventured out to stretch his flippers!

The structure of the enclosure itself seems to attract the growth of algae, but after an initial bloom, several sea hares settled on the netting to feed, thereby ‘cleaning’ the net. We will monitor this as part of our maintenance procedure, along with the new barnacles which have arrived on the ropes and mooring blocks.

enclosure marine life sea hares Maldives (0547)

Long-tailed Sea Hare (Stylocheilus longicauda)

November 2018

Albert (the new turtle from Kuda Huraa) was relocated to the enclosure from 19-29 November. Following a day of observation back at our Centre, we took Albert along with Frisbee out to the enclosure. Unfortunately, they became aggressive so we immediately returned Frisbee back to the Centre.

Albert continues to be observed and fed each day, and is healthy and active in his enclosure. We hope to expand the shading in the coming days, and our new materials have arrived (shading fabric, PVC pipes and ropes).

The recent bloom of algae and the long-tailed sea hare (Stylocheilus longicauda) which we observed during October has passed, and we haven’t spotted any sea hares recently. We document all activities and observations of the enclosure, and periodically update our sponsors (Mrs Banks and the Olsen Animal Trust) with a detailed report.

Total time in pen (14 October-30 November):

  • Chomper – 7½ days. Chomper’s buoyancy syndrome improved after a few days, and he was seen to be floating lower in the water. He was very active during feeding times, swimming and diving down to the middle of the enclosure.
  • Albert – 3½ days. We are introducing Albert to his new enclosure progressively (4-12hrs/day). During feeding times, he is not very active and continues to be a fussy eater. He is staying at the edge of the cage. The last days he showed more interest for the food. We will try to feed him with lobster as it was his favourite food in Kuda Huraa.


  • 27 September – Enclosure kit arrives at Landaa Giraavaru.
  • 6 October – The engineer (from Shandong Aidi M&E Technology, China) arrived to supervise assembly.
  • 7-10 October – Assembling the enclosure on the beach.
  • 11 October – First launch of the walkway in the water (without the netting).
  • 13 October – Net and mooring blocks fixed into position.
  • 14 October – Chomper inaugurated the pen, and he soon settled in.
  • 31 October–3 November – Chomper returned to the cage.
  • 7 November – Temporary shade tested.
  • 19-22 November – Albert lived in the pen for 4-12hrs, during the mornings and evenings (avoiding highest sun exposure).

Monitoring Protocols

  • The turtle is wrapped in a wet towel and transported to the pen via small motor boat (3 minutes).
  • The housed turtles are monitored for 30-45 minutes, twice per day at feeding times (10:00 & 17:00).
  • The turtles are encouraged to swim and dive for food.
  • In anticipation of bad weather, we monitor closely and return the turtles to our Centre if necessary.
  • Weekly, we follow our turtle-care protocol to check health status (weight, length, healing progression, full body check-up).
  • Only healthy turtles that require minimal treatment can be left out in the enclosure.
Rescue turtle ocean enclosure (Marine Savers, Maldives)

December 2018

  • 5 December – Albert was returned to our Centre for care, and the following day we installed extra shade at the sea-based enclosure. We assembled the PVC pipes for the shade’s structure, and towed them and the shading material out into the lagoon behind the whaler. The final assembly and gluing were done at the enclosure site. Knotted ropes and cable ties secured everything in place, with approximately half the area now being shaded. We will soon be installing additional weights (6 x 25kg) to better balance the shade and framework of the enclosure.
  • 9 December – We used brushes to clean the enclosure netting for accumulated green algae and sponges (the sea slugs that fed on the algae have disappeared).
  • 7 December – Albert was taken back out to the enclosure, and he took a few minutes to settle in to the new surroundings. Over subsequent days, it was sometimes challenging to feed him, as he is not very mobile with just two flippers, and the wave motion makes it difficult for him to catch food. Additionally, on some days when we would arrive at the enclosure for feeding, rather than swimming towards us he seemed scared and would swim away, trying to dive but without success.
  • 19 December – Albert was returned to our Centre for care.
  • 19 December – Indianna was taken out to the enclosure. Her flipper wound was healing, and she was diving well inside the small recovery pool, so we decided the extra space inside the sea-based enclosure would be beneficial to develop her diving skills.
  • 20 December – We added Varugadha to the enclosure, who is floating but will hopefully start to dive soon. The 2 turtles seemed to get on well.
  • 21 December – We observed Indianna biting Varu, so we returned Varu to the Centre. We later observed that Indianna was not diving down to the bottom of the enclosure to feed (she has not yet accepted hand-feeding) maybe because her left (injured) front flipper seemed swollen at the elbow joint.
  • 22 December – We returned Indianna to the Centre for treatment and observation.
  • 22-31 December – Albert lived happily in the sea-based enclosure, including a care session on 27 December on the enclosure walkway (measured, weighed, scrubbed and photographed).
Rescue turtle ocean enclosure (Marine Savers, Maldives)

Christmas lunch in the turtle enclosure!

2019 Updates


Albert developed a fungal infection and was retrieved from the enclosure on 4 January. He also showed some abrasions on his stumps caused by contact with the net. The enclosure then remained empty as the waves were quite choppy, and most of our turtle patients needed intensive care and treatment. During this time, we extended the shade covering, adding weights and ropes to prevent the structure from flexing.
On 26 January, Chomper was transferred to the pen, and he seems happy and active.


We returned Chomper to our Centre for treatment for abrasions, and we transferred Frisbee out to the pen.


Frisbee spent the entire month of March in the enclosure. The sea conditions were perfect (relatively calm with little current); he was feeding consistently and didn’t display any health issues.


Frisbee, our adult male Olive Ridley turtle, spent the start of the month in the sea turtle enclosure. He is missing both front flippers (due to entanglement in ghost netting), making it impossible for him to ever survive out in the open ocean.

It was Indianna’s turn next, and she remained in the enclosure until her release back into the ocean on 15 April.

Tiff was transferred to the enclosure on 17 April, where she is actively swimming, but her severe buoyancy syndrome means she is unable to dive below the water surface despite repeated efforts. Nevertheless, she has been feeding well and has been put on a larger diet due to her increased activity.


Tiff stayed in the enclosure until 21 May. She was brought back to the centre, as we noticed some sea lice that were living in her plastron wound. After a 24h bath in fresh water, the sea lice are gone and she is now being monitored in a recovery pool at our Centre.

From 21-26 May, our 2 juveniles Luna and April shared the enclosure. Luna was greatly enjoying the extra space to swim around, as she has all her flippers intact and could use the full size of the pen to dive. We released on 29 May, directly from the edge of the enclosure.
We had observed some superficial wounds on April’s rear flippers after a couple of days, most likely abrasions from the edge of the enclosure, so we returned her to the Centre for observation.
Currently, the enclosure is closed for maintenance – the net and ropes are being changed, and we are adding ‘separators’ so that more turtles can benefit from being in the enclosure at the same time.

Turtle enclosure Marine Savers Maldives (42) shade
Turtle enclosure - Leo's first day (17-Jun-19)

June to August 2019

Heavy rain and storms meant that conditions were unsuitable for the majority of June. Only Leo was in the sea turtle enclosure, and for only one night. Due to overgrowth of algae and other marine life on the netting, water flow within the pen had become limited. The decision was made to remove the net for replacement once the rainy season is over.

The amount of marine life (algae and encrusting organisms) that has accumulated on the net and grown over time is estimated at 4 tonnes in weight! Removing the net was a huge operation, taking 8 people 6 days at the end of June (a special thanks to the Dive and Launch teams for their invaluable help). The net was towed to shore, and cut into smaller pieces for reusing later in other projects. We will customise and install the new net at the end of September, with larger mesh diameter and a depth limited to 2 metres, allowing for better water flow and easier cleaning & maintenance. We also plan to experiment with natural anti-biofouling techniques, by encouraging fish and grazing animals to feed on the accumulated algae. 

To date, a total of 10 turtles have spent time in the large turtle enclosure, with 2 of these turtles (Indianna and Luna) being successfully rehabilitated and subsequently released back into the ocean. Of the turtles still undergoing rehabilitation, Frisbee has greatly improved his swimming manoeuvres, Tiff has shown excellent improvements in overall health/strength, and Varu’s diving has improved so much that we hope to release her in the near future.

Having the sea enclosure has also increased the carrying capacity of our turtle rehabilitation centre as a whole, helping to increase the turnover of rescued turtles to 21 (almost double the same period in 2018).


October 2019

During October, we installed the new net for our sea turtle enclosure, out in the lagoon at Landaa Giraavaru. The net was transported via our small whaler boat to the site, and then hung using a combination of SCUBA and free diving. To reduce fouling and the growth of marine organisms, we secured this new net to a shallower maximum depth of 2.5m, which should be ideal for both turtle rehabilitation and continued cleaning/maintenance.

The “sink bar” is now attached to the higher “handrail”, to strengthen the overall structure and to prevent distortion in strong currents, and the net folds have been woven and tied to the “handrail”. We aim to regularly clean the net (once per week at least), in order to ensure enough water flow through the pen and to reduce the risk of overgrowth of algae.

Our rescued female Olive Ridley turtle, Tiff, was being regularly taken out to the lagoon for a swim, where she would make impressive efforts at diving but without any long-term progress. We then transferred Tiff to the enclosure on 26 October, and after settling in for a few days she is now making great progress! She began to dive regularly for periods of around 1 minute, and she is now diving more than 10 minutes, and seems to really enjoy the freedom and the large space. We plan to release her next month after the visit of our turtle specialist.

November Updates

During November, Tiff and Hailey have spent time in our lagoon enclosure. After a period of settling in, they got along very well and were peacefully sharing the space. Hailey proved she was healthy and good at diving, and was successfully released back into the ocean on 17 November. Tiff is currently doing well, practising and improving her diving.

On 9 November, we conducted a deep clean of the netting to remove the fast-growing algae, and plan to repeat this monthly to prevent fouling, keeping the enclosure functional and increasing its durability and lifespan.

Turtle rehabilitation lagoon enclosure Marine Savers Maldives

December 2019 Updates

Tiff is doing very well in our ocean enclosure, practising and improving her diving, so we hope to release her very soon. Varu was also introduced to the ocean pen, and the 2 turtles are getting on well together. Varu is attempting to dive deeper, but she is still quite buoyant and remains unreleasable at this stage.

On 15 December we performed the monthly deep-clean to remove the fast-growing algae from the enclosure’s netting, and we plan to reinstall the shade once the stormy weather recedes.

During 2019, a total of 11 turtles have benefited from the extra space and freedom of the ocean enclosure.

Turtle rehabilitation enclosure lagoon Landaa Maldives (3) [800]
Turtle rehabilitation enclosure lagoon Landaa Maldives (2) [800]
Turtle rehabilitation enclosure lagoon Landaa Maldives (1) [1080]

2020 Updates

Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives

January 2020

During January, a record number of three turtles were successfully released directly from the enclosure platform, including Tiff who was suffering from persistent turtle buoyancy syndrome and completed the final stage of her 9-month rehabilitation inside the enclosure.

We recently reinstalled the sunshade system, but unfortunately it was soon damaged during sudden and unexpectedly rough weather conditions. We have now ordered some new shade material direct from the manufacturer, along with a customised net better adapted to our unique requirements (3m deep; 60mm mesh).

On 12 January, we deep-cleaned half of the enclosure netting, and plan to clean the other half during February.

Frisbee and Chomper are currently sharing the sea turtle enclosure space. As they have shared a pool before, they get on well in the enclosure together without any conflict. We have seen great improvements with Chomper’s diving ability, as we needed to hand-feed him initially, but now he’s able to dive down and feed from the bottom of the enclosure!

Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives
Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives
Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives

March 2020

Since the start of March, our three male rescue turtles have been interacting without problems in the enclosure. Chomper continues to improve, and is able to dive below the water surface and rest on the bottom netting more frequently (watch our video on Facebook). However, Frisbee and Thaku have shown few improvements as yet.

On 17 March, Macau was added to the pen; she’s been very active, swimming, diving and interacting with the males.

Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives

Dafne Limon, our new turtle veterinarian …

Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives

… assessing the swimming & diving abilities of our turtles

Some holes in the netting have been repaired, and the broken shade has been removed as we wait for the new one (despatched on 21 March). The cage was deep-cleaned on 9 March (outside) and on 22 March (inside).

Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives

April 2020

Chomper and Macau were successfully released this month, directly from the enclosure platform. 💙

Chomper had enjoyed his 2 months living in the pen, and made great progress in swimming and diving down to the bottom netting. Macau’s recovery was rapid, taking just 25 days to regain the ability to dive, and she was soon able to rest on the bottom, successfully overcoming turtle buoyancy syndrome.

At the start of April, Aisha (a young female Olive Ridley) was also transferred to the enclosure for a short period, where she showed great improvements. She was highly active, swimming, diving, and interacting with the other turtles.

Turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure Maldives

On 14 April, we removed the netting from the enclosure, and stored it away for safe-keeping.

turtle enclosure Maldives – removal of the netting
July 2020

On 2 July, we reinstalled our sea turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure.

On 25 July, we transferred Nilukshi (a juvenile Olive Ridley) to the enclosure. She’s making good progress, swimming around and diving down to retrieve food. As soon as Nilukshi starts to rest on the bottom netting, she’ll be ready to be released back into the ocean.

August Updates

  • 7 August – small holes were repaired in the side net, using extra netting and cable ties.
  • 11 August – Nilukshi was successfully released back into the ocean. 💙 🙂
  • 20 August – we cleaned the enclosure of algae, and repaired small holes in the base netting with fishing line.

2021 Updates

Turtle lagoon enclosure Marine Savers Maldives


At the start of the new year, we replaced the netting and installed the new shading system, ready for the introduction of our turtle patients.


We had recently observed some health improvements in one of our rescue turtles – Varu – her body had started to sit lower in the water, meaning an improvement in buoyancy syndrome. We decided to transfer her from the Centre recovery pools out to our ocean enclosure, where she began to dive (brief and shallow) after just one day! After a total of 19 days in the enclosure, she is now diving to the bottom netting to retrieve food morsels, and she can remain submerged for longer periods … very promising! 💙 🙂

Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers


Varu has been living out in the enclosure for a whole month now, and is making excellent progress! She can dive down to retrieve her food, and remain submerged for long periods with little effort, resting on the bottom netting. We hope to release her back into the ocean in the coming weeks.

Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers
Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers
Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers


Out in Landaa’s lagoon, our large turtle enclosure remains open and in good condition, despite recent monsoon rains. Some simple maintenance tasks were completed, including fixing the shade, replacing the central rope, and stitching a small hole in the netting.

On 25 July, we transferred Raai out to the enclosure to complete his rehabilitation process. He is already making good progress, able to dive below the surface and stay underwater without much effort. As soon as he’s able to rest at the bottom of the enclosure, he will be released (hopefully within the next month).


Raai spent three weeks in the enclosure, where he quickly regained his ability to dive and rest comfortably on the bottom netting! A little over 2 months after his arrival at our Centre, he was fitted with a satellite tracker and successfully released back into the ocean on 14 August – you can follow his journey on our interactive map.

On 15 August, we transferred Oevaali to the enclosure. At first, her diving was near-vertical as she dived down for food, but over the next 2 weeks she has started improving (more steady, more horizontal). Due to turtle buoyancy syndrome, it’s obviously still quite an effort for her to dive down and remain submerged, so we haven’t yet observed her resting on the bottom netting.

2022 Updates


In the video, you can see Artemis being transferred to our lagoon enclosure for the very first time. She tries very hard to dive, but isn’t yet able to remain below the water surface for any length of time.